The Ezra Academy sixth-grade students spent four days and three nights at the Isabella Freedman Center experiencing the wonder of Teva. The purpose is to connect Judaism, nature and ecology all together through many outdoor learning experiences. Students focused on awareness, responsibility, and teamwork.
Students were kept busy from morning until night! One favorite activity was building a fire. Students had to find dry wood in the midst of a lot of snow. They also had to find a good base area to make the fire. They learned different techniques such as a “teepee” of kindling versus a “log cabin” construction of wood to get a fire started. All the different groups hiked to the Overlook. Some of the groups did a “trust walk” in which the students were blindfolded and were guided by a fellow student to the top of the rocky knoll. The blindfolded students were then surprised when the beautiful view was revealed. Other memorable classes were making cheese, fixing the eruv – fence, hiking with the goats, making new paper from recycled paper, baking “stick” bread over a fire, and building a solar oven. Students enjoyed learning new songs and singing them after each meal and throughout the days!
Some students really loved the connections they were able to make with students from other schools. They spent a lot of time with certain kids and even exchanged email contacts. This class can’t wait to begin their follow-up Teva projects. These 19 students have decided to embark upon a goal of reducing p’solet– waste. They are working to educate teachers and other students about not wasting photocopy paper and computer paper. They are investigating ways to get rid of paper towel waste from the bathrooms. Some students are researching the cost of hand dryers and others are working to invent a manual hand dryer that won’t use electricity. A third group noticed that we throw out paper cups each week after Kabbalat Shabbat. They are getting prices for re-usable plastic cups and investigating the cost to run the dishwasher each week.
One of their favorite songs from Teva is called “We Are the Change.” They have taken this to heart and really will be making changes to benefit their class, school, community, and world!